FM radio stations on the playa

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P.O.P.
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FM radio stations on the playa

Post by P.O.P. » Wed Feb 01, 2006 3:59 am

I've tossed the idea of broadcasting an FM radio station on the playa.
I've been thinking about this for the past few months. It's not the cheapest thing in the world but it wouldnt break the bank.
Does anybody have any experience with this because I sure don't. What exactly would I need? whats enough power 10 watt - 100 watt? Is there a more efficent way, is it even worth it? Oh, & what's the price on an FM transmitter and what's their range? I'm know theres extras to think about like mic's, antenea's and other but i'm juat trying to get a general feel for the idea.

Thanks in advance for any any all help, oh and btw, i'm Lucas. Lovely to meet all of you and I can't wait to see you all on the playa!

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Feb 01, 2006 8:52 am

Go to the main site and find the theme camp list from last year or any year. Some did broadcasting. SEnd emails to the contact numbers.

I don't remember names of the camps or the radio stations, but someone here probably will. You might also do a search on the main site.
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Lassen Forge
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Re: FM radio stations on the playa

Post by Lassen Forge » Wed Feb 01, 2006 9:43 am

Thanks, Fishy... and thank you for calling WTF, the voice of the Apokilipse, at 99.9 on your FM dial... Our next caller is Lucas - What's on your mind?
P.O.P. wrote:I've tossed the idea of broadcasting an FM radio station on the playa.
I've been thinking about this for the past few months. It's not the cheapest thing in the world but it wouldnt break the bank.
Does anybody have any experience with this because I sure don't. What exactly would I need? whats enough power 10 watt - 100 watt? Is there a more efficent way, is it even worth it? Oh, & what's the price on an FM transmitter and what's their range? I'm know theres extras to think about like mic's, antenea's and other but i'm juat trying to get a general feel for the idea.

Thanks in advance for any any all help, oh and btw, i'm Lucas. Lovely to meet all of you and I can't wait to see you all on the playa!
Good questions.

I'll start with the easy ones. Your range is determined by a number of things - your antenna style, it's height, the local landscape, your transmitter power output - even the frequency will make some difference.

What we found is that given the bowl shape (and relative smallness) of your "broadcast area" (the Playa, and BRC in particular) you don't need a hell of a lot of either. You can throw an antenna 20 feet in the air, have a 500 mw signal, and it will be received by MOST brc residents.

You have other considerations, tho... and these are ALL important -

(1) You CANNOT interfere with the "real" radio stations broadcasting in Reno or Susanville. A lot of the locals (from Empire and Gerlach) will pitch a mondo bitch (and rightly so) if their regular radio station is "pre-empted" by your BRC station - and that can bring the FCC down on you and the rest of us broadcasters. So... you need to (a) watch your power output, (b) limit your broadcast area, and (c) make sure you're on a "clear channel".

(2) Regarding (c) above, it gets into the second part - the non-interference/clear channel concept. You not only have "real" stations to contend with, but the pre-existing stations in BRC. You can't occupy a frequency that is either blocked out (for local 365 day stations) or one that was in use the previous year. So the camps that had frequencies last year (our 99.9, or our neighbors (physically and frequency-wise) RFBM at 99.5, BRC's BMIR at 94.5 or... well, there's a bunch) have righs to occupy those frequencies the next year. There's a list at http://www.k-svert.com/freqs/ that shows what's available and what's not. It's also recommended that you try to leave a "buffer" between your station and the others in BRC, as crosschannel interference starts to play into it.

(3) Thirdly, you should have a purpose behind the station - what will it's programming be, will you be running live or canned, hours of operation, etc. I'll use ours - we ran a (mainly) canned format mix of popular and "oldies" with various voice work interspersed. This year, we're kinda hoping to do more live work. Contrast that with... Hmmm... BMIR. They're predominantly live, with interviews and whatnot. Programming for your station can be a PITA (just like a 365 day station). If you play the same 10 songs over and over you won't hold your audience.

(4) Equipment - that's kinda up to you. You can homebrew your own gear, or you can buy it premade. Cost is kinda dependent on what you do. You don't need 100 (or even) 10 watts to hit everyone (we ran about 1 watt and punched to Gerlach!!) but it's still not cheap to get your gear. You also need to remember, whatever you do, it needs power to operate. Anyway, I would suggest Googling pirate radio stations, and seeing what others have done. It also depends on your format - Doing a voice-only rant station or a music only disc station takes a lot less infrastructure than, say, something like these guys (http://www.strawberrymusic.com/hog_ranch.asp) who do multiple live feeds from all over their event, live multi-channel music feeds from live events, etc... it's not Burning man but it ives you an idea how extravagent a low watt broadcast station can get! (Their station is a tent about 16 feet deep by 48 feet long, and runs 24/7 through the event).

Hope that answers some of your questions... and gives you an idea of whether this is a thing you want to really do or not.

Thank you for calling. We have a line open at 1-888-999-DOOM. Before we go back to the sat-phone, we need to do some business - Back in a moment, this is your gravel-maiden, BB Sue, at 99.9, WTF, the radio voice of the Apokilipse...

And now, a word from our sponsors, General Atomics - Have you detonated a GA today?...

P.O.P.
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sue...

Post by P.O.P. » Wed Feb 01, 2006 10:05 am

You are an absolute darling.
Although I had realistic idea of what it was going to take to get this off the ground your advice helped set me in the right direction.

thx again

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Post by dragonfly Jafe » Wed Feb 01, 2006 10:56 am

...I have had excellent results with products from these guys (don't work for them, just buy their stuff!).

www.ramseykits.com

they have a lot of FM transmitters and related stuff...
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
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Hot Wire
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Post by Hot Wire » Tue Feb 07, 2006 1:54 pm

Hmm,, isn't it possible to get some help from some HAM-operators with this ?
http://www.arrl.org/
Equipment and things....
Maybe they could do a fieldday-week in the camp or something...
,, and if they could put up a HAM-station i could bring my radio ? maybe...

and for a call sign,, what about CHTO1 (camp herring the only one :-))
bE awarE, bE awarE, anotheR herrinG iS neaR
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Lassen Forge
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Post by Lassen Forge » Tue Feb 07, 2006 3:26 pm

Hot Wire wrote:Hmm,, isn't it possible to get some help from some HAM-operators with this ?
http://www.arrl.org/
Equipment and things....
Maybe they could do a fieldday-week in the camp or something...
,, and if they could put up a HAM-station i could bring my radio ? maybe...

and for a call sign,, what about CHTO1 (camp herring the only one :-))
Ahhh... one of my favorite Komrade Enemies is here. >giggles<

OK... brass tax time.

Getting help from a ham - You could, tho a ham operator who sets up a pyrat radio station here (and gets caught) is subject to losing their license. And through the ITU it can follow you home. BE CAREFUL!!! I wouldn't want to see even Herrings go through that can of worms - and I have heard of it happening.

There is a group that set up a 20/40 station on the playa officially, and there are a bunch of us who do so unofficially. IF you do bring equipment out, be sure you can protect it from the dust - playa dust is conductive and corrosive. Also remember on top of that the heat thing.

Radio... Power supply... tuner... dipole antenna... yeah, you could prolly find somewhere to set up and run out there.

Also... since you are thinking of running an FM BC station... there is a list on Yahoo Groups that you can learn the rules (yes, there are rules) and get your freq. requested and assigned (sorry, 99.9 is taken, no jamming permitted)... can't remember their name, something simple as I remember...

Before I saw the light and became a true purveyor of the Apokiliptik Doom (®) I was setting up to run a station out there... There are a couple decent manufacturers of gear out there, or you can homebrew your own. Either way, you still want to protect your equipment from dust - it's a real occurance (and potential nightmare) out there.

Good luck to you... maybe you can do so well as to come in a distant second to our Peabody-Award nominated WTF... >grins<

Oh - callsigns? I think C is an Canadian call designator, so sure, you can use CHIN-2 or something... few use "legit" callsign designators out there (us, k-svert, and a few others - everyone else uses something else) ... just don't blame us if someone from ottawa comes knocking on your tent at night...

Back to the war...
bb

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EL Wire
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Post by EL Wire » Tue Feb 07, 2006 4:00 pm

How many radiostations where there in BRC last year?
I remember from 2004 that I only found 3-4 stations on my radio.
Is all of the BRC stations receivable on an average FM receiver with default antenna?
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Hot Wire
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Post by Hot Wire » Tue Feb 07, 2006 4:05 pm

I have my own call sign and radio i could use. Not on those low frequency though. Half of CH is still HAM-operators, AFAIK.
Maybe I could,,,
Have to apply of course.
bE awarE, bE awarE, anotheR herrinG iS neaR
Hot Wire
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"Get the Inside Scoop on Camp APOK-Camp Herring Threads!"
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Hot Wire
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Post by Hot Wire » Tue Feb 07, 2006 4:06 pm

I have my own call sign and radio i could use. Not on those low frequency though. Half of CH is still HAM-operators, AFAIK.
Maybe I could,,,
Have to apply of course.
bE awarE, bE awarE, anotheR herrinG iS neaR
Hot Wire
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"Get the Inside Scoop on Camp APOK-Camp Herring Threads!"
http://www.apokiliptika.com/thread_principles.htm
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Do you think it should be a death penalty for killing time ?

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Lassen Forge
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Post by Lassen Forge » Tue Feb 07, 2006 4:53 pm

EL Wire wrote:How many radiostations where there in BRC last year?
I remember from 2004 that I only found 3-4 stations on my radio.
Is all of the BRC stations receivable on an average FM receiver with default antenna?
Think I counted something like 12 or 13. Most on the lower (sub 100 MHz) side. Some didn't run 24/7, so it was catch as catch can.

Receivability - depends on the station. If they are a low-power rig (100 mw) or have a low antenna or whatever, it could be limited. But in general, yes, you should be able to pick them up on a regular radio.
Hot Wire wrote:I have my own call sign and radio i could use. Not on those low frequency though. Half of CH is still HAM-operators, AFAIK.
Maybe I could... Have to apply of course.
3 words - go for it. But be ready to do bunches of QSL cards.

As to the CEPT - from what I've been able to find out, you don't need to apply - Norway and the US have a reciprical op agreement. You run your regular call with a /w7 in front of it (eg: W7/LA8ST)and as long as you are running legal, your license is valid. Just remember the freq. /power assignments are different here than in Europe. Double check with the ARRL site and see if you read this the same as I do...

http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/io/

Of course... our superior Apokiliptik RDF units will allow us to locate any LA units in the Black Rock Occupied Zone... and OUR licensing is much more involved... >heh heh heh<

bb

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EL Wire
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Post by EL Wire » Tue Feb 07, 2006 5:23 pm

HEY! Maby I'll bring my old Ten-Tec Argonaut 509 and do some CW QRP.
Are there many Ham's in Apokiliptika BB Sue?
All cats love fish but fear to wet their paws.
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Re: FM radio stations on the playa

Post by Curmudgeon » Wed Feb 22, 2006 1:42 pm

Bay Bridge Sue wrote:Thanks, Fishy... and thank you for calling WTF, the voice of the Apokilipse, at 99.9 on your FM dial... Our next caller is Lucas - What's on your mind?

You have other considerations, tho... and these are ALL important -

All good points. I'll add another, just in case word hasn't gotten completely around. The FCC has taken to monitoring broadcasts from the Playa and enforcing their regulations regarding "decency". My understanding is that one of the stations has already been raided in response to on-air profanity. I'm sure that somebody will correct me if I'm mistaken.

One should keep this in mind as one plans one's own broadcasts. As amusing as "Fuck: Our Versatile Friend" was some years back, one just can't broadcast that on the Playa anymore. At least, not if one's broadcast is easily traceable.

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